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Spam Government The Courts Your Rights Online News

Spamhaus Responds To Spammers' Lawsuit 464

ShaiHulud-23 writes "A suit was recently filed by, a fledgling secret organization of spammers, against the Spamhaus Project, (and other anti-spam sites) seeking to prevent the publication of the anonymous plaintiffs' IP addresses in the Spamhaus Block List (SBL). The suit requested a response from the named defendants, and Spamhaus director Steve Linford has provided one, dismantling the spammers' case point by point."
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Spamhaus Responds To Spammers' Lawsuit

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  • by ShaiHulud-23 ( 632290 ) on Monday May 12, 2003 @07:56PM (#5940939) Homepage Journal
    Should be "defendants"

    Also, here's some amusing dirt [] on the lawyer who filed the suit (and registered the EMarketersAmerica domain.)
  • by Red Warrior ( 637634 ) on Monday May 12, 2003 @07:57PM (#5940948) Homepage Journal, a fledgling secret organization of spammers

    NOTE: secret organizations should NOT file public lawsuits.
  • IANAL... (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Bendy Chief ( 633679 ) on Monday May 12, 2003 @07:57PM (#5940949) Homepage Journal
    Someone please, please tell me there are perjury-charge meriting falsehoods in the documents filed by the spammers. The claims that Spamhaus is a commercial organization and is maliciously blocking traffic are particularly suspicious.

    After all, they got Capone for income tax.

    • Re:IANAL... (Score:5, Informative)

      by Cramer ( 69040 ) on Monday May 12, 2003 @08:11PM (#5941047) Homepage
      Well, having delt with one spammer in particular (yes, listed by Spamhaus), I'll just say they are very open liars. This individual said -- and I wished I'd been recording the call "for quality assurance purposes" :-) -- Spamhaus was a company run by one of his competitors. We had to mute the phone for a few minutes. They insist they are not sending "spam" -- even tho' I have spam reports from every batch of crap they sent.
    • Start by disbarring the lawyer for abuse of his position as an officer of the court. Follow with criminal case for perjury. Top off with civil suits for libel and harassment.

      It is pretty clear that some of the information in the lawsuit is made up. Completely, from whole cloth. For example, the claim that Spamhous's DNS registration information is incorrect seems to be an utter falsehood. The claim that the defendants converted IP addresses and servers to their own use is ridiculous.

      Some Florida lawy
      • yeah good luck...only a band of lawyers (your local Bar Assoc.) can impose disbarment upon another. likely? i think not... as my friend puts it, one can be a filthy lying coke fiend lawyer with a $1000/day habit, and get disbarred only by misappropriating a client's trust account.

        alleging incorrect statements in a motion is not perjury; if so, all lawyers would be in prison. the burden in a civil case is different than that which you are used to watching on The Practice. besides isn't that the very de

    • No. Re:IANAL... (Score:5, Insightful)

      by DDX_2002 ( 592881 ) on Monday May 12, 2003 @11:48PM (#5942148) Journal
      Pleadings aren't made under oath, so nothing contained in them can be perjury. If you deliberately state facts you know to be false, however, you could run into civil liability for abuse of process.
      • Re:No. Re:IANAL... (Score:4, Interesting)

        by Tetsujin28 ( 156148 ) on Tuesday May 13, 2003 @11:31AM (#5945160) Homepage
        Pleadings aren't made under oath, so nothing contained in them can be perjury. If you deliberately state facts you know to be false, however, you could run into civil liability for abuse of process.

        Pleadings are signed by attorneys pursuant to Rule 11 under the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, and similar rules in all state courts I'm familiar with. Rule 11 can leave an attorney open to some pretty nasty sanctions if he submits a pleading that includes misrepresentations of fact.

  • ironic.. (Score:5, Funny)

    by v_1_r_u_5 ( 462399 ) on Monday May 12, 2003 @07:57PM (#5940952)
    we're in effect giving an anti-spam company a DDOS with the /. effect. way to go, guys.
  • That's nice... (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Hilleh ( 561336 )
    No really, that's great. I'm happy for all you guys. Biiiiiiig group hug? Everybody feel better that we're fighting the evil, evil spam now? Okay, good.

    Seriously, I hate having my inbox clogged up as much as the next guy, but wake me up when something actually HAPPENS. I'm sick of hearing the two sides verbally piss on each other, I think we can all agree that's been done to death. How this rehashing of the same old crap is newsworthy to anyone is beyond me. Different face, same words.
    • Re:That's nice... (Score:5, Insightful)

      by ShaiHulud-23 ( 632290 ) on Monday May 12, 2003 @08:06PM (#5941015) Homepage Journal
      The original lawsuit was newsworthy because it was a cartel of spammers attempting direct legal action against a system which blocks their messages, claiming that Spamhaus restricts their free speech and free trade.

      The Spamhaus response is just a followup to the earlier story, and is an interesting insight into the fraudulent dishonest mindset of spammers by pointing out the falsehoods in the suit.

      This whole issue is newsworthy because it calls attention to the overall deceptive sleaze of spam in general, it is NOT a legitimate business. While the racketeering story posted earlier isn't quite the right solution, I do think that if the courts are made more aware of the shady (and sometimes outright illegal) business practices of spammers, more anti-spam suits will be won and more anti-spam laws will be passed. Spam is a crime that just hasn't been made illegal yet.
      • The phrase "preaching to the choir" mean anything to you? We all know spam is bad, but unfortunately I'm going to assume that posting about it to slashdot isn't going to change a judge's mind.

        Unless he's a goatse troll, then that would just kinda rock.
    • Re:That's nice... (Score:3, Insightful)

      by dboyles ( 65512 )
      Seriously, I hate having my inbox clogged up as much as the next guy, but wake me up when something actually HAPPENS. I'm sick of hearing the two sides verbally piss on each other, I think we can all agree that's been done to death. How this rehashing of the same old crap is newsworthy to anyone is beyond me. Different face, same words.

      I'm with you as far as being tired of seeing this sort of thing go on for ages without any discernable progress. But you've got to understand, this is how things of this
  • by Anonymous Coward
    After reading through that, I cannot believe how easily that lawsuit by the spam assholes of america - a subdivision of satan, inc, - will be thrown out of court.

    How do you get an American court to have jurisdiction over a company that does not sell products to US consumers - since it does not sell anything - and does not have any divisions in the US?

    A UK only company being sued in an American court? Why bother? Isn't it obvious?
    • by snoochyboochy ( 593098 ) on Monday May 12, 2003 @08:07PM (#5941026)
      Obvious??? This is supposed to be obvious to the guys who think I need a merchant account to access my home mortgage to enlarge my goods for that date with the girl from the e-card whom I can buy prescription drugs for, should she get a migraine from trying to sorth through all her "legitimate" emails in a day?
    • by CausticWindow ( 632215 ) on Monday May 12, 2003 @08:21PM (#5941120)

      It's not at all obvious.

      We are coming to a point in history where US law is converging to global law. Military might talks. Mind you, it doesn't work the other way.

      The spam assholes of America are some of the least dangerous assholes though. The US is brim full of more dangerous assholes.

    • by CaptainCarrot ( 84625 ) on Monday May 12, 2003 @08:22PM (#5941123)
      How do you get an American court to have jurisdiction over a company that does not sell products to US consumers - since it does not sell anything - and does not have any divisions in the US?

      You don't. That's why the plaintiff had to lie about the Spamhaus' and Steve Linford's whereabouts, about US residents being principals in Spamhaus, and to falsely suggest that it might have a US office. Otherwise the suit would be thrown out at as soon as it landed on a judge's desk.

    • How do you get an American court to have jurisdiction over a company that does not sell products to US consumers - since it does not sell anything - and does not have any divisions in the US?

      The American legal system will find a way, don't you worry about that.

      After all this is the legal system that thought that it should arrest a russian who did something in Russia (Skylarov) that was illegal in the USA but couldn't believe the temerity of Russians wanting to arrest Americans (the FBI) who did something

    • by Bilbo ( 7015 )
      One of the countless side-effects of the spread of the Internet is the way that legal issues are spilling over national boundaries. Witness the spread of IP law and international support for patent and copyright enforcement. Witness the World Court and the UN. This spread is being pushed to a large extent by the US, and by US corporations (e.g., Microsoft trying to twist the arm of the Chinese government to make them crack down on software piracy), but the US is by no means the ONLY source.

      True, it's h

  • by Triumph The Insult C ( 586706 ) on Monday May 12, 2003 @08:01PM (#5940978) Homepage Journal
    ... if I go to Florida and take this guy out. not only does he defend our favorite utility meat, but he's a lawyer. that has to be, like, an 11th commandment in some religion.
  • by Rosco P. Coltrane ( 209368 ) on Monday May 12, 2003 @08:01PM (#5940982)
    From the main page at [] :

    Everyone hates spam... and that includes e-mail marketers.

    Gee, I'd say, I wouldn't want to eat my own crap ...

    • by Cramer ( 69040 ) on Monday May 12, 2003 @08:33PM (#5941169) Homepage
      These people piss me off...

      Billion dollar industry... blah, blah, freakin' blah. Prove the damned numbers. Unlike RIAA and MPAA, no one is going to let spammers make up their own balance sheets. There are numerous reports world wide giving hard proof of the costs brought about by all the stupid spammers. The only people who stand to be finacially injured and unemployed (and unemployable after a background check) are the asses sending all the spam.

      I'll see their billions and raise by trillions -- the costs of software development and administrator headaches addressing the problem of spam, software development and administrative overhead to block loopholes in internet protocols, ever increasing server and bandwidth needs to move, process, and store all this crap... SPAM is a very expensive problem with the burden everywhere but the spammer.

      Laws are useless unless swiftly and strictly enforced. Speeding is illegal, but that hasn't made much of a dent.
    • by Oscar_Wilde ( 170568 ) on Monday May 12, 2003 @10:17PM (#5941730) Homepage
      The line I like the most is:the Anti-Spammers, many of which hide in Europe

      Hide in Europe? What evidence to they have that the anti-spammers are hiding? What would it matter if they hide in the EU and not the US?

      Last time I checked it wasn't the anti-spammers that needed to hide....
  • (Subject line says it all.)
  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday May 12, 2003 @08:03PM (#5941000)
    They're used to fighting spam...not a here's the cache. Google Cache []
  • No ground (Score:5, Insightful)

    by The Bungi ( 221687 ) <> on Monday May 12, 2003 @08:05PM (#5941007) Homepage
    I think the key point here is that use of an IP blacklist is entirely voluntary. So this sleazeball can hardly claim that Spamhaus is actively trying to "block his business".

    Talk about clueless and groundless.

    • Re:No ground (Score:4, Insightful)

      by secolactico ( 519805 ) on Monday May 12, 2003 @09:14PM (#5941397) Journal
      Talk about clueless and groundless.

      Groundless, yes. Clueless, I don't think so. They are simply playing dumb and hoping to stir the hive to get some honey (wich might very well end in them getting stung).

      Some believe that thieves are the best security advisors. This guy probably knows all about spam and anti-spamming methods, and if he doesn't, he probably has a tech person who does.

      And if, as a lawyer, he seriously expect this lawsuit to prosper, he is even more incompetent than Lionel Hutz (yes, this is a gratuitous Simpsons reference).
    • Re:No ground (Score:5, Informative)

      by shut_up_man ( 450725 ) on Monday May 12, 2003 @09:38PM (#5941525) Homepage
      The other key point in the document is that the Spamhaus Black List (SBL) blocks spam at the destination, not the source. This is a nice implementation of the "you're free to say whatever you like, but I'm free not to listen" aspect of free speech, which is often used by spammers to justify their annoying practices.
  • Ok, you're an organization that sends UNSOLICITED emails, and you're attacking an organization who keeps a list of ips? No one is forced to use spamhaus's list -- they use the list because they don't want to receive your crap.
  • by ceswiedler ( 165311 ) * <> on Monday May 12, 2003 @08:06PM (#5941016)
    I think it's inevitable...

    Since it's impossible to verify the actual sender of any email, we need to be stricter about validating the server who sent it (most recently). AOL and MSN and the large corporations will eventually ban all email not coming from a small (< 100 domains) set of 'trusted hosts'. This will hurt small companies and small ISPs; the answer is that they will have to route their mail through a trusted host (or through someone else, who in turn...). These trusted hosts will become something like (and possibly run by) Verisign and other CAs. The small senders will have to pay for the authentication the trusted host provides (which they will pass on to their customers). This is already something like what ISPs do, when they refuse to forward SMTP mail except from their own block of IP addresses.

    If a trusted host allows spam to be sent through it (on a large enough scale), then it is in danger of losing its 'trusted' status. Unless of course, it acknowledges its spammy status and pays (bribes?) the other trusted hosts to allow it to remain. The end result will be that spammers will have to pay (considerably) for the privilege of sending spam through a trusted host. Normal users will have to pay (a small amount) for the privilege of sending non-spam through a trusted host.

    This isn't a radical idea, it's simply whitelists taken to their logical, structured conclusion.
  • really should have learned from the LAST time a /.'ing smacked them off the internet. Geez!

    Hopefully someone mirrored it. :)
  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday May 12, 2003 @08:07PM (#5941022)

    The Spamhaus Project, London, UK

    Answer to Case Number 03-80295
    Filed in United States District Court, Southern District of Florida by (aka Mark E. Felstein) on behalf of anonymous senders of Unsolicited Bulk Email ("Spam").

    The Spamhaus Project receives a great many threats of legal action from senders of Unsolicited Bulk Email (aka "spammers"). The cases attempted to-date have either never been accepted by a lawyer for filing or have been thrown out by the courts as being without merit.

    Lawsuit 03-80295, filed by an anonymous group calling itself (registered only 4 weeks ago to one Mark Felstein, the same lawyer who filed this case... i.e: the Plaintiff is the lawyer), is a SLAPP suit intended to harass those named. With regards to Spamhaus, the suit seeks an injunction to stop Spamhaus from publishing the IP addresses of the anonymous entity the Plaintiff represents on the Spamhaus Block List ("SBL"), an IP Preference List used freely and voluntarily by 140 Million Internet users to reject incoming spam emails from confirmed spam senders. The Plaintiff clearly believes he has a right to force SBL users to receive his spam. Spamhaus categorically rejects the argument that any Sender has a right to force the users of our SBL system to receive unsolicited bulk email messages.

    The lawsuit requests an answer. The following is the answer of Spamhaus director Steve Linford on behalf of The Spamhaus Project:


    I . Plaintiff, EMARKETERSAMERICA.ORG, INC., (hereinafter sometimes referred to as "EMARKETERS"), is a Florida Non Profit Corporation with its principal place of business in PALM BEACH County, Florida. EMARKETERS' membership base consists of email marketers, internet services providers domiciled in and throughout Florida, and other related businesses, which operate their businesses throughout the United States and the World.

    2. Defendant, SPEWS.ORG d/b/a THE HERMES GROUP (hereinafter referred to as "SPEWS"), is a United States of America based entity, which operates
    a blacklist of other's Internet Protocol addresses. Additionally, SPEWS and its principals sell products which block the electronic transmission and Internet communications of American citizens and businesses. SPEWS
    posts on the Internet and intentionally delivers information in its express efforts to interrupt and block the internet traffic of lawful
    businesses and individuals. SPAMHAUS maintains a list of other's Internet Protocol addresses and servers. SPEWS operates and conducts its
    activities through the Internet at Plaintiff is informed and believes that SPEWS has two offices located in California and one in Illinois.

    3. Defendant, SPAMHAUS.ORG d/b/a THE SPAMHAUS PROJECT (hereinafter referred to as "SPAMHAUS"), is a United Kingdom based entity, which operates a blacklist of other's Internet Protocol addresses.

    Specifically, Spamhaus operates the Spamhaus Block List ("SBL"), a DNS-published advisory list of IP addresses of confirmed junk email senders, known as the SBL Advisory, which allows SBL users to reject incoming spam emails.

    Additionally, SPAMHAUS and its principals sell products which block the electronic transmission and communications of American citizens and
    Spamhaus does not sell any product whatsoever and never has sold any product. The SBL is published free of charge and does not block the transmission of email, it specifically blocks the receipt of junk email by computers belonging to SBL users.

    SPAMHAUS posts on the Internet and intentionally delivers information in its express efforts to interrupt and block the Internet traffic of lawful businesses and individuals.
    • by Anonymous Coward
      The "Internet traffic" (i.e: email) of 'lawful businesses and individuals' (i.e: senders of spam, the sending of which is illegal in 27 US States), is not blocked at the sending mail servers (the servers owned/operated by the spammers EMarketersAmerica allegedly represents), but is blocked by the recipients' own private mail servers, i.e: the blocking occurs at the point of ingress into the private mail servers of SBL users.

      The SBL is used by SBL users (and SBL users alone) freely and voluntarily to reject
  • Mirror! (Score:5, Informative)

    by Pig Hogger ( 10379 ) <`moc.liamg' `ta' `reggoh.gip'> on Monday May 12, 2003 @08:07PM (#5941024) Journal
    Handy mirror [] of the answer to the überchickenboner!!!
  • by Sandman1971 ( 516283 ) on Monday May 12, 2003 @08:11PM (#5941051) Homepage Journal
    I've always wondered about this. Excuse my possible ignorance, but I'm from Canada where the legal system is different than the States.

    How can spammers sue anti-spam list maintainers? RBLs are purely voluntary. Companies/ISPs aren't forced by law to use RBLs. They implement RBLs out of their own volition (hopefully after doing a bit of research of the RBL in question).

    I can see a point of a non-spammer is accidentaly added to the list and the RBL company refuses to remove the 'offending' company. But in this case, these are known spammers. They don't deny that they send out spam. It just doesn't make any sense. The spammers should be charged with wasting the court's time.
    • Here in the US you may sue anyone for any reason. Whether or not your case is thrown out of court is another matter...
    • Ack, meant to hit preview, not submit... oh well... Other thoughts: How are RBLs any different from other anti-spam services like Brightmail, or even firewalls (IE: I host my own mail, and I've pretty much blocked all of China and Korea so far, along with a few dozen overseas ISPs). All these are done voluntarily. Does this mean an ISP in China has a right to sue me just because I decided to block their CIDR block for the constant flow of spam that came my way (usually thru open relays)? Does this mean com
      • by amuro98 ( 461673 ) on Monday May 12, 2003 @09:35PM (#5941507)
        The lists maintained by SPEWS, SBL, etc. are little more than opinions saying I think the following ISPs are irresponsible and/or are harboring spammers..."

        The fact that admins of domains can then use that information to allow their mailserver(s) to allow/reject mail from those domains is a separate matter.

        There are then services, like Brightmail, which provide filtered email services to end users or ISPs. Brightmail's website will provide you with details on what they use for filtering, be it SPEWS, SBL, something else, or (most likely) a combination of all of the above.)

        At any rate, organizations like SPEWS and SBL only provide the data. They do not implement it. As an ISP, your only legal recourse for being blocked due to a listing would be to go after each individual ISP that is blocking you. Even then, unless you had a contract with that ISP saying they MUST accept all mail from your domain, there's not a whole lot you can do. Laws vary from place to place, but the concept of "private property" seems pretty universal - and that's what every domain, and ISP network is - PRIVATE PROPERTY. No domain anywhere is *required* to accept mail from all of the internet.

        Most lists provide documentation on their listing and delisting policies. This is both for admins wishing to use the list (do they agree with the criteria), as well as for admins wondering what happend to get them listed in the first place.

        As for your employer's situation, getting onto a list usually occurs for the following reasons:

        * Signing up of a spammer who's so infamous, that he and the poor sucker of an ISP that signed him up are immediatly blocked as a preventative measure. (ie. it's not a matter of IF he'll spam...)

        * Preceived slack/slowness/cluelessness of your employer's abuse desk. This doesn't mean you have to have your abuse desk write personal responses to each and every person who sends a complaint...just have them do their job, and eliminate your misbehaving customer.

        No reasonable person is going to expect instantaneous action, either. I think 2-3 days (TOPS) should be enough to deal with most cases, even with a 1% spammer infestation. Again, most people aren't going to expect a personal reply. Not getting the same spam from your customer is usually good enough. (and will keep you off the lists!)

        Finally, you might want to look into proactively discouraging spammers from signing up by creating a new clause in your customers' contracts stating that if the account is terminated due to spam, you will charge the customer a clean up fee (usually $500-$2000.) ISPs that have enacted such a clause see the spam emanating from them drop off quickly - and hey, if someone is STILL stupid enough to spam, use the money to throw a beer bust. :)

        Seriously though, if your abuse desk does their job in a timely manner, you shouldn't have any problems with listing services.
    • I think that's exactly the point, and why Spamhaus responded the way they did. No, common sense is the same in the States... at least among non-idiots. ;) Let's just hope they get a good judge that immediately tosses this one out, and, yes, must pay reparations for wasting the court's time. chris.
    • How can spammers sue anti-spam list maintainers?

      Oh, you can sue anyone for anything. The question is whether you can win, and whether the judge will decide to bitch-slap your attorney for wasting the court's time.

      I'm looking forward to some serious counter-charges here.

    • by Ironica ( 124657 ) <> on Monday May 12, 2003 @08:23PM (#5941129) Journal
      How can spammers sue anti-spam list maintainers?

      In the US, you can file a suit for anything. You risk countersuit and charges for frivolous lawsuits for filing blatantly false and harrassing lawsuits, which is what happened in this case. claims in their suit, among other things, that:

      - Spamhaus and SPEWS are run by the same people.
      - Steve Linford's brother, who lives in Italy and knows nothing about Spamhaus, is one of those people running both sites.
      - Spamhaus has an office in the US.
      - Spamhaus sells products.
      - Spamhaus' products "destroy" and "intercept" legitimate email transmissions.
      - Spamhaus has *appropriated* IPs belonging to EMarketersAmerica member organizations for their own use and profit. (Tell me, how on Earth do you do that? I want to steal MS's block...)

      They make many other false statements, but those are the doozies.

      These are people who make their living by digitally date-raping whoever they can find. (And, yes, I use that word... please, I get emails about enlarging my member on a daily basis, and I'm a WOMAN, for crying out loud. At least send me breast enlargement ads instead.) They have no compunction about breaking more laws by filing a frivolous and false lawsuit in hopes that it will scare someone off.

      The good news is, Steve Linford, if he has the time and money to do so, now has an excellent countersuit, which could make a lot of those spammer's documents public record. Big ifs, but stranger things have happened.
      • Is he filing one? (Score:4, Interesting)

        by mdfst13 ( 664665 ) on Monday May 12, 2003 @11:21PM (#5942041)
        You mention that Linford "has an excellent countersuit." I would agree, but I am unsure if you are claiming that he has already filed one or that he could file one.

        I think that not only the defendants of the case should countersue but that those who use the SBL and those who are protected by the SBL should join the suit (as a class action) against the negative effects that could be caused by hindering Spamhaus's work. I also think that anyone who owns part of this corporation should be named as a defendant in the suit. Clearly the corporation is an attempt to hide the actual principals and protect the from liability. I'm not sure of the legal basis, but I think that that protection should be voided by their active participation.

        Hopefully the discovery phase will dig up some of their actual illegal behavior (forging headers, hacking boxes to send email from them), so that the courts can prosecute them. It would be great if it could be proved that some of the product distributors who benefit from this advertising could be shown to have actively participated as well. Cut off the funding for spam.

        Seriously, if some lawyer wanted to take this task on, I (and many others, I'm sure) would be happy to help with the preparation of requests for useful data and interpretation of the data once it is received. Just post a response here and I will be happy to post one of my spamcatcher accounts. Just give me an idea of what the email will look like so that I don't accidentally delete it with my spam...
      • These are people who make their living by digitally date-raping whoever they can find. (And, yes, I use that word... please, I get emails about enlarging my member on a daily basis, and I'm a WOMAN, for crying out loud. At least send me breast enlargement ads instead.) They have no compunction about breaking more laws by filing a frivolous and false lawsuit in hopes that it will scare someone off.

        Care for a trade then? I'm a guy and I get numerous breast enlargement spams these days. (I knew it was a

    • Sue for anything (Score:5, Insightful)

      by nuggz ( 69912 ) on Monday May 12, 2003 @08:28PM (#5941152) Homepage
      You can sue for anything, really you can.

      You should be allowed to sue for anything.
      Who should judge what is worthy? A judge of course, nobody else should be allowed to make the decision if the case should proceed.

      I don't see a better solution.

      • Re:Sue for anything (Score:5, Interesting)

        by Ironica ( 124657 ) <> on Monday May 12, 2003 @08:43PM (#5941239) Journal
        You can sue for anything, really you can.

        You should be allowed to sue for anything.
        Who should judge what is worthy? A judge of course, nobody else should be allowed to make the decision if the case should proceed.

        I don't see a better solution.

        An excellent point, really. The problem is, it depends on a certain threshold amount of personal ethics and judgement, which we seem to have slowly sloughed off here in the US. You should be *able* to sue for anything, but you should not automatically come up with a lawsuit every time the world inconveniences you or takes away your favorite toy. Unfortunately, our legal system runs on dollars, not sense. It's not corrupt, really; it's just big and complicated (like a Hummer?), and the people who can give it enough fuel to get mileage out of it are those with lots of cash (yeah, like a Hummer). Meanwhile, there's thousands of "reasonable" lawsuits every day that never get as far as a filing, because people don't have the time and/or money to deal with it.

        There's a lawyer in Downtown Los Angeles named Nancy Mintie, who has been practicing for 24 years. She has never lost a case. Seems amazing on the face of it... but on a closer look, she does nothing but pro bono legal services for homeless and poor people. There are so many people down there who are being horribly exploited and abused, so there's tons of very solid cases to work with. You walk into a court room and tell them that a landlord has to do something about kids getting chewed on by rats in their sleep, you don't have much trouble at all. It's the big bucks lawsuits that are touch-and-go, because they often don't have a solid foundation to rest on.

        I've been trying to come up with a better solution, but really, how could you feasibly socialize the legal system? Universal Health Care is a cinch in comparison. After all, if the guy across the street has a better doctor than me, it doesn't mean he can take years away from my life. But if he's got a better lawyer, he can sue me for all I'm worth, and it may not matter if he has a better case than I do... as long as he has better representation.
    • The only similar case I can think of is where a website published the home numbers and addresses of people who worked for a collection agency, which this is generally accepted as being wrong. No one wants to get phone calls related to work while home, but at the same time, the list maintainer might be justified providing contact information for people who make harrassing phonecalls.

      But your ignorance is understandable. I don't know of anycase in law, american or otherwise, where it was considered inappro
  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday May 12, 2003 @08:17PM (#5941083)
    Mark Felstein
    555 South Federal Highway, Suite 450
    Boca Raton, FL 33432


    You know what to do!
  • Discovery! Yeah! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by jcr ( 53032 ) <jcr.mac@com> on Monday May 12, 2003 @08:17PM (#5941084) Journal
    Spamhaus should depose the plaintifs, and get the names of EVERY one of the greasy little bottom-feeders that's given them any money for this frivolous litigation.

    • mod parent up please. sounds like a great idea. however would this information be considered confidential? or since it's a public lawsuit, can those names remain public? or does it all have to remain under blah? mmm.
    • by billstewart ( 78916 ) on Monday May 12, 2003 @09:44PM (#5941554) Journal
      Isn't it fun when they go out of their way to toss a nice slow pitch right over the plate? (Hmmm. American Baseball may not be totally familiar to Steve at Spamhaus, since he lives in the UK, but actually that plays into the real point...)

      Spamhaus isn't a US entity, and Steve Linford isn't a US resident, and it's highly likely that the court has no jurisdiction over his actions, so it may be much cleaner for him to say "no thanks" and not be part of the suit. That means he may not get to play the Discovery game (or at least he'd need a real lawyer rather than me advising him.) But any of the US-based defendants certainly can go file discovery motions as part of their response, even if the result of them is to demonstrate that they're not part of the suit or that they didn't do the actions they're accused of or that those actions aren't a tort.

      You can have *so* much fun with discovery in this - not only should they be able to get the names and real addresses and phone numbers of all the spammers that the plaintiff alleges are part of his organization, but also

      • all the IP addresses and domain names the spammers own or use and
      • copies of all the ISP contracts the plaintiff alleges to have, or that the plaintiff's spammer buddies allege to have, and
      • any other ISP contracts that they have which the plaintiff is *not* alleging were blocked, because that obviously indicates something relevant, and
      • exactly what hardware and software and which ISP connections were used to deliver the spam that was allegedly blocked, and what recordkeeping capabilities it has, and
      • any records they have about the dates and times and recipients that they attempted to deliver messages to which were blocked, and
      • how they determined that the recipients use SBL as instead of or in addition to other blocking lists, and
      • why they assert that SBL was actually used to block their spam as opposed to some other list, and
      • the contents of those messages, and
      • who if anyone had hired them to deliver the messages, and all their names and addresses,
      • or if the spammers were trying to sell the products themselves, exactly what those products were (Ajax Model 28 Penis Expander), or if they were medical products, whether they met all legal requirements for selling them, e.g. Viagra,
      • or if the spammers were promoting web pages with their spam, exactly which web pages and who paid them to promote them, and
      • where they obtained the addresses of the recipients they were spamming, and
      • whether the information was delivered directly by the spammers, or by using open relays and/or open proxies, and their IP addresses, and whom they obtained permission from to use each of those, and how they located them, and
      • precise cost accounting data used to calculate the alleged damages, especially because the spammer alleges, probably correctly, that they're high enough to trigger some jurisdictional or procedural effects under Florida law,

      and any other information you can think of that the spammers would probably rather NOT have exposed to public view. And be sure to get all of them in electronic form, and delivered to all the defendants, because even if Steve Linford and Spamhaus aren't under US or Florida jurisdiction, they're certainly parties to the case, and it'd be a real shame if there were no particular way to impose confidentiality rules on the non-US defendants for use of that data.

      Yeah, it seems like a lot of data. But the plaintiff's suit doesn't just claim something fuzzy like libel (where he might have had a chance suing in the UK, though probably less likely here) or restraint of trade, it claims that the defendants engaged in activities that caused damages to the plaintiff by interfering with the plaintiff's legitimate activities, and that means that the actual activities that the plaintiff claims to have engaged in and the defendant's actions which allegedly i

  • Ok... so publishes IP addresses of this spammer.... and is wrong for doing so?

    I'm sorta vague on the law aspect here, but near as I see it... sends out mail. This goes without saying they are using some form of a sendmail server. Given this IP address of their mail server is typicaly given out everytime they send mail, how do they feel they can successfuly sue someone for publishing this information.

    I can see why they would be *annoyed* by the simple fact that it is n
  • by Guppy06 ( 410832 ) on Monday May 12, 2003 @08:19PM (#5941100)
    "However, groups that call themselves Anti-Spammers are trying to eradicate all e-mailers by blacklisting even the legitimate companies. is a trade organization representing legitimate permission-based e-mail marketers on the Internet who are fighting back."

    The list is just that, a list. What people do or not do with the list is up to the person whose decision it is to implement it. So if the recipient is using the list to avoid email advertisements, doesn't that kinda call into question whether or not the spammers really did have "permission" to begin with?

    Perhaps if businesses and the courts didn't define "permission" as "not actively signing up for the opt-out list," we wouldn't be having such problems.
  • by TechnoGrl ( 322690 ) on Monday May 12, 2003 @08:19PM (#5941102)
    Make sure you make your feelings known about spam to the originator of this lawsuit, lawyer Mark Felstein.

    Attorneys for, Inc.
    555 South Federal Highway, Suite 450
    Boca Raton, Florida 33432
    (561) 367-7990 Phone
    (561) 367-7980 Facsimile

    BY :~ :~,_
    Mark E. Felstein, Esq.
    FBN: 192139
    • by TechnoGrl ( 322690 ) on Monday May 12, 2003 @08:24PM (#5941133)
      Oops... don't forget this one either ;)

      Mark Edward Felstein
      102 NE 2nd St # 200
      Boca Raton Florida 33432-3967
      Phone: 561/367-7980
      • And just in case *those* numbers don't work I just found t e? openframeset&frame=content&src=/Membership.nsf/MES earch?OpenForm

        Attorney Number: -- 192139
        Member in Good Standing
        Mark Edward Felstein

        Felstein & Associates, P A
        555 S Federal Hwy Ste 450
        Boca Raton Florida 33432-5504
        Phone: 561/367-7990
        Fax: 561/367-7980

        County: Palm Beach
        Circuit: 15
        Admitted: 02/25/2000
        Board Certification:
        Sections: Young L
    • Thanks a lot! His office is between my house and job and now my commute time's going to double because of all the mail trucks converging on his office. :-)

  • Spamhaus does not have the power nor the required resources to block or ban traffic either going to or coming from the spammers or their "products". All of this ultimately occurs at the user end, or at the ISPs on a voluntary basis (and it is entirely their and our right to do so).

    Therefore, their (the spammers) lawsuit is defeated by the reality of the mail delivery system(s).

    On a side note, those fucking spammers can eat a dick.

  • Spamhaus Responds To Spammer's Lawsuit

    Did they send a mass mail to members of e-marketeers to inform them of the response ? Oh no, that would be like spamming them.
  • by Ptahian ( 113302 ) on Monday May 12, 2003 @08:21PM (#5941118)
    With all due respect, I disagree with the portion of Mr. Linford's reply:
    The SBL is published free of charge and does not block the transmission of email, it specifically blocks the receipt of junk email by computers belonging to SBL users.
    In fact the list, does not block receipt. It can be used by the actual postmaster to facilitate that process, but they could do something else like filter the email into a "spam" mailbox for each user, or just gather statistics, etc. It's information nothing more nothing less. -Ptah
  • by tsvk ( 624784 ) on Monday May 12, 2003 @08:27PM (#5941142)

    The SpamCon Foundation [] has set up a legal fund [] to aid spamfighters that need legal assistance.

    The defendants of this particular EMarketersAmerica suit also benefit from and endorse [] this fund.

  • by billstewart ( 78916 ) on Monday May 12, 2003 @08:35PM (#5941179) Journal
    I'm not a lawyer, and I'm not sure whether Steve's "response" is just a public statement or is a document that's been submitted to the court, and I'm not going to speculate on whether he should or should not use any particular form of response since he's asserting that he's not under their jurisdiction. Having said that, howerver:

    Steve's response is very clear on the point that the SBL doesn't block the transmission of any messages, but he's fuzzy on whether it blocks the reception - in some places he says it does, while in other places he talks about the recipient blocking them. I thought that the SBL is implemented in a way that the user's email software does the blocking, after checking the site's status with the SBL. It's a potentially important difference - not so much for Steve or Spamhaus (because of the jurisdictional issues) but for the US plaintiffs. It shouldn't be - the recipient has every right to hire a blocking service to block spam for them, even if the one they've chosen to use charges no money - but it could make a difference to a jury or to a really clueless judge.

  • This is Classic! (Score:2, Insightful)

    This entire lawsuit is ridiculous, in fact, laughable at some points. Emarketers actually says that Spamhaus hijacked their IP addresses, and used them for their own gain. Huh? They also state repeatedly that Spamhaus blocks their IP addresses at the source, rendering their mail servers useless, in essence.

    These guys are technically clueless. If you are going to sue someone for technical reasons, at least know what the hell you are talking about. I mean, is it just file the suit and hope for a clueles
  • 25. Defendants, S. LINFORD, J. LINFORD, MURPHY, WILSON, GUNN, SOBOL, SHARP, TIETJENS, BROWER, JARED, SPAMHAUS and SPEWS'S efforts are calculated to disrupt and destroy the businesses, and the business and personal reputations of the Plaintiff.

    Neither Spamhaus nor any of the Defendants named had ever heard of EMarketersAmerica prior to this SLAPP suit being filed. It follows therefore that they could not be harming the Plaintiff in any way.

    Thats a rather illogical argument. If Spamhaus was blindly block

    • Thats a rather illogical argument. If Spamhaus was blindly blocking every IP address in the 100.x.x.x range, then even though they have never heard of the people in that range, they could still be harming them. It's quite easy to harm people you have never heard of.

      Spamhaus does not block IP addresses. They publish a list of known spammers. It is then up to the subscriber to block those IP addresses, at the ingress point into their networks.

      If I lock my door because I don't want your filthy magazine,
  • For what is worth... (Score:5, Interesting)

    by NomadPgmr ( 192661 ) on Monday May 12, 2003 @09:18PM (#5941413) Homepage
    I wonder if ValueWeb knows that they are hosting a run by multiple spammers with the intent of promoting spam. This is in violation of #9 in their AUP. I wonder if they are aware of this??

    PING (


    OrgName: CyberGate, Inc.
    OrgID: CYBG
    Address: 3250 W. Commercial Blvd. Suite 200
    City: Ft. Lauderdale
    StateProv: FL
    PostalCode: 33309
    Country: US

    NetRange: -
    NetName: CYBERGATE-1
    NetHandle: NET-64-70-128-0-1
    Parent: NET-64-0-0-0-0
    NetType: Direct Allocation
    NameServer: NS.VALUEWEB.NET
    NameServer: NS2.VALUEWEB.NET
    RegDate: 2000-04-03
    Updated: 2000-11-28

    TechHandle: CN313-ARIN
    TechName: Network Administrator, CyberGate Network
    TechPhone: +1-954-334-8080
  • by cyranoVR ( 518628 ) <> on Monday May 12, 2003 @09:36PM (#5941510) Homepage Journal
    The spamhaus guy certainly dissects emarketer's absurd lawsuit, but unfortunately that is a technique better suited for Usenet flamewars. (At risk of overstating the obvious...) It isn't gonna cut it in Federal Court. Spamhaus will ultimately have to file a coherent legal briefing - which I hope Slashdot links to when it becomes available.

    Unfortunately, many court cases are more about who has deeper pockets than who is if Spamhaus doesn't get this court case dismissed immediately, they could be in big trouble.

    If they DO go to court, they run the risk of ending up with one of those old, crusty judges - the kind that has never actually used a computer, having his(or her) secretary print out his email every day instead. In which case the proceedings could drag on and on...and Spamahaus would probably be SCREWED.
  • by anagama ( 611277 ) <> on Monday May 12, 2003 @09:37PM (#5941519) Homepage
    According to the information the FL. Bar Ass. [] has on Mark Edward Felstein, he was only admitted to the bar in 3 yrs. ago. If you are currious, click the Find a Lawyer" [] and see for yourself.

    Too bad he's going down such a low path so soon in his carear.
  • by AEton ( 654737 ) on Monday May 12, 2003 @09:52PM (#5941601)
    One of Spamhaus's responses, actually:
    Leaving aside the fabricated "matter in controversy", the United States District Court for the Southern District of Florida, USA, does not have jurisdiction over the United Kingdom.
  • by stygar ( 539704 ) on Monday May 12, 2003 @11:21PM (#5942044)

    1. Now that his address has been posted to Slashdot, how much snail mail do you think Mr. Feldstein is going to get next week?

    2. Does anyone else think it's a coincidence that the site that comes up first when you google for "free catalog" ( is running rather slowly right now?:)

  • by JWSmythe ( 446288 ) * <> on Monday May 12, 2003 @11:28PM (#5942072) Homepage Journal
    I am anything but pro-spam, but I'm happy to see the blackhole lists get kicked around a little bit. Some of my accounts get hit more than the average person, because they are well placed on many web pages, or have been in use for years and are now forwarded to my account when people leave the company. I average about 200 spam messages per day coming into my account.


    I also handle many networks, with many many machines. Some of our networks have other people's equipment on it, but I'm 100% positive that they don't spam from their machines. Since they frequently ask me to help with their configurations, or help with problems, I'm intimately aware of what they do.

    If there are spam complaints, they filter through to me very quickly. Level3's abuse account gets most of them. They filter out most of the bogus complaints, and are quick to get with us about legitimate complaints. We did have one machine hosted on one network that was spamming, which we ejected from the network shortly afterwards.

    On a monthly basis, someone will come to me saying that they've been blacklisted by one of the many lists for ambiguous reasons. Any incident that is legitimate is cleared up between us and our bandwidth provider, under the threat of having the IP or IP block blocked from all Internet access. Level3 Communications is very anti-spam. They'll cut you off for being a spammer. If we don't explain or handle an incident, we could very easily loose our lines. I have no problem with this.

    The last case with Level3 was a single spam complaint, sent through SpamCop. The message wasn't a spam at all. Someone had made a purchase online with an invalid credit card number. The Email simply stated that they had attempted a purchase (with IP and invoice number), and said if they still intended to make the purchase, they should contact the sales department at the store. I know the owner of the store personally, so I called him. He freaked out when I told him there was a spam complaint. This is a business man [] who is the most honest person I know. (If in Ft. Lauderdale, tell Glenn I say "hi"). I read the Email to him, and he confirmed that it was a legitimate message, and the card had been bad.. He immediately cancelled the order, and blacklisted the customer. The next day I got a forwarded Email which was an apology from the customer. She sends every Email off to SpamCop, and lets them sort them out. Nice, huh?

    Now on to the abuses of the spews system. SpamHaus is /.'d right now, or I'd complain about them, but lets check who we can. [] is one of our networks. A small backwater of our network. A few older machines live there, and not much happens. SPEWS has blacklisted, as well as which is no relationship to us (the wrong network size is theirs, not ours). Because I have machines on the first half of, I'm blacklisted. could be blacklisted, but I happen to know that they have quite a few hosting customers, most of who know nothing about the other customers.. Legitimately blacklisted??

    ORDB [] has my ex-girlfriend's mail server listed. She develops and hosts sites. No spamming at all. [] is listed as Funny thing is, it doesn't exist on our network.. I'll personally escort anyone from spews into the colo to prove it to them.. Oh wait, I forgot, these are anonymous people who don't exist in the real world and don't feel themselves accountable for blacklisting innocent networks.

    AOL has blocked one of my own servers, as well as those of two different friends (on their own networks) for "potential spam".. One of them had a *WEB* proxy server, and aparently because it existed (on port 8000), he was blacklisted from sending
  • by Jaysyn ( 203771 ) on Tuesday May 13, 2003 @12:32AM (#5942341) Homepage Journal
    Demand for Jury Trial

    Plaintiff, EMARKETERSAMERICA.ORG, INC. hereby makes a demand for a jury trial of all counts so triable.

    Sweet, these morons *want* a jury trial.

    Jury: "Your honor, we find the defendant SpamHaus et al. innocent on all charges, and furthermore recommend the public castration and/or execution of the plantiff & all it's members.

    Judge: "Sounds good to me."


Thus spake the master programmer: "Time for you to leave." -- Geoffrey James, "The Tao of Programming"